Following up on my interest in the Knights of Malta, I got to reading about their part in the Cretan War which went on from 1645 to 1669. This led me to the siege of Candia. This started in 1648 and the Venetians and their allies (including the Knights of Malta) were holding well.

But in 1667, according to Wikipedia, Colonel Andrea Barozzi, who was a Venetian military engineer, went over to the Ottomans and gave them some useful information on how to attack the Candia fortifications.

I'm wondering why he did this, if he was bribed or if he offered the information in exchange for money or position or something, or maybe he just decided to join the side he thought was winning.

I did some searching but couldn't find anything more than the information in the Wikipedia article, except the koules page but even this doesn't say why he betrayed his own side or what reward he got.

One other thing I found was a Wikipedia page on the Barozzi family. Maybe it's his family but he's not mentioned there.

(There's no Crete tag so I just used other relevant ones)

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    There's a thesis The War of Candia, 1645-1669 but it doesn't seem to even mention Andrea Barozza. Strange. Sep 27, 2019 at 12:51
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    FWIW the reference was added as part of two edits by an anonymous user who didn't bother leaving a source. Those seem to be the user's only two edits on that page, so it might be a typo or plain dubious. That said, this page seems to suggest the guy ended up with a fort as a reward for defecting. Sep 27, 2019 at 13:19
  • One Cervantes bio tells about the Ottomans torturing/killing bishops and generals after a successful siege (e.g. flaying them to death over the cathedral altar). if it is true, may be he just shat on his pants when he realized he would lose?
    – Luiz
    Sep 27, 2019 at 13:27
  • @Luiz: Until he defected the defenses seem to have been holding tight. It had been over 20 years already by then. For all we know it could have continued for another 20 had the Ottomans not changed what parts of the walls they were targeting under Barozzi's guidance. Sep 27, 2019 at 13:34
  • If I remember rightly, Attard's 'Knights of Malta' mentioned this instance -- but my copy is in storage so I can't verify this. There's no online preview and Attard's English is horrible, but he did include some pretty decent info.
    – gktscrk
    Jun 5, 2020 at 9:41

2 Answers 2


The question is quite complex to google. Per the comment I dropped, the edit that added the detail seemed somewhat suspicious at first glance due to the lack of citations.

After digging a bit deeper though, I found a few other corroborating sources, including a few in Google scholar, and a book by Bruno Mugnai and Alberto Secco (La guerra di Candia 1645-69, in Italian), so my assumption is that the information is legit rather than pure invention.

The reward seems to have been the fort of Temenos if this article (or this one, which has the exact same quote) is anything to go by:

During the Cretan War, i.e. the war between Venetian-Cretans and Turks, most battles took place in the countryside, as the Great Castle of Candia resisted for 22 years. In the wider area of Heraklion, Christians were led by the abbot of the monastery Agarathos, Athanasios Christoforos and the scholar Gerasimos Vlachos, while the Venetian general Gildasis (Gil d 'Has) attacked the Turks in several places. During one of these attacks, in 1647, Gil d’ Has attacked the Turks who had occupied the fortress Temenos, slaughtering almost all of them. In 1669, after the Turks conquered Candia, the fort was donated by the Sultan to the Venetian traitor of Candia, Andrea Barozzi. The fort was then named Kanli Castelli, i.e. bloody fort, so as to commemorate the massacre of the Turkish army in 1647. However, there were references to the fort, naming it as Nefs Temenos.

I was unable to locate why Barozzi defected however. That said, the answer might be in this book. If the only comment is anything to go by, it is a first hand witness account of the events through the eyes of a French officer. (The siege ended shortly after the French failed to relieve the fort.) It turned up in a Google search with Barozzi as a keyword, so with a little luck a few of the documents might give hints as to why Barozzi switched sides.

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    You might find this useful. It does seem to confirm the Cretan beaches article. Sep 27, 2019 at 15:06
  • @LarsBosteen: Thanks. Might you know the page that mentions that he got rewarded with the fort? I couldn't locate it while scanning the pages I could read. Or did you mean this was one more piece of data that points to the event having actually happened? Sep 27, 2019 at 17:00
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    Sorry, I meant confirmation of the Wiki page. Something else, though: my Italian sucks but it appears that Barozzi's treachery was not forgotten as he was assassinated in April 1682. Not sure how good your Italian is but have a look at L'ultima crociata and eurotrial. Sep 28, 2019 at 1:07
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    Although the book L'ultima crociata makes no specific mention of Kanli Castelli, it does say Barozzi was rewarded with a pension and various plots of land. Sep 28, 2019 at 1:16
  • BTW, feel free to use this stuff in your answer. Sep 28, 2019 at 1:32

It is possible to find the answer of your question inside the book: "Bullettino di archeologia e storia dalmata"" by Alacevic and Bulic. It was the Andrea Barozzi revenge against Morosini that had persecuted him during his military life in Candia and Ragusa.

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    This would benefit from a little more detail.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 19, 2023 at 19:29

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